We’re back up to the Caribbean, and this time, the Bread & Soup Project heads to Bermuda. The island is a British Overseas Territory, which, I gather, means it has its own government, constitution, and laws, as regards anything domestic, but anything foreign, i.e., defense and foreign relations, is handled by the UK. It’s not exactly a huge island, coming in at about 53 square kilometers / 20 square miles. By contrast, the city of Buenos Aires, not including the metropolitan surrounds, is almost 50% larger than that. It’s named after Juan de Bermudez, a Spanish sea captain, who discovered the uninhabited islands in 1505. It wasn’t claimed by any colonizing empire until 1609, when a British corporation, the Virginia Company created the first settlement on the island.

As regards food and culture, while dominated by its British background, there are influences from Native American, Spanish, and Caribbean cultures as well. Though there are numerous ways I could have gone with my choices for this entry, I decided on a classic fish chowder with rum and sherry peppers, and a johnny bread. We saw a different version of the johnny bread in the entry for the Bahamas, where it’s treated as a small baked torte, or johnny cake. Here, it’s pan-fried, and comes out almost like a delicate North American pancake.

The first thing I had to do was start about a week ahead of time to make the “sherry peppers”, a classic condiment of Bermuda. Basically, it’s just sherry infused with Caribbean bird peppers. We don’t have the latter available here, but piri-piri peppers are pretty close, so I filled a bottle with them, added sherry, and let it infuse. Damn that’s good. And apparently, you just keep topping it off with more sherry as you use it.

I started with the Fish Chowder, because a) it’s a bit more complicated than the bread, and b) it needs to simmer for a bit, and then sit for about an hour before you reheat it back up and serve it. to date, I think this is the most ingredient intensive soup I’ve made in this project. Fish, small clams, and shrimp. Butter, tomato, green pepper, onion, carrot, leek, celery, garlic, bay leaf, fish stock cubes (yeah, yeah, I know, but I just wasn’t in the mood to make fish stock, and these give a good fishy flavor, they’re a local brand), a good hit of allspice, thyme, tomato paste, cornstarch, dark (or better, if you can find it, black) rum, and worcestershire sauce. Whew!

Butter into the soup pot, along with the vegetables, all chopped. A little salt, and cook, stirring regularly, for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.

Add the fish, cubed. Top off with water and fish stock cubes (or fish stock if you’ve made it) – about a liter and a half for these ingredients, tomato paste, spices and herbs. Some recipes also add in some straightforward hot sauce at this point, but I knew the sherry peppers was coming up and it was pretty intense, so I didn’t want to overdo it. Figured I could always add in some hot sauce at the end if it wasn’t spicy enough. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. At that point I used a spatula and just pressed the fish cubes against the side of the pot to have them flake apart.

Add the worcestershire sauce, the rum, and the sherry peppers (not the peppers themselves, but a couple of tablespoons of the infused sherry). Whisk the cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water, and then whisk into the pot, bring it back to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. It will thicken up slightly.

At this point, add the shellfish (I’d separately quickly steamed the clams in a saute pan to open them and picked out the meat), bring it just back to a simmer, turn the flame off, cover the pot, and let it sit for an hour. Time for the bread!

The Johnny bread are pretty straightforward. I made a half batch of the recipe that I was using as I was solo for this (I did post on Facebook to see if anyone wanted to come for dinner – no one took me up on it – their loss). It makes about 6 johnnycakes, so the full recipe makes 12, and I’m going to give you the amounts for a full recipe: 360 gm (3¼ c) of flour, 225 gm (1 c) of sugar (yeah, these are sweet), 50 gm (4 Tb) of baking powder, pinch of salt, 120 gm (½ c) butter, 240 ml (1 c) milk, 2 eggs.

Mix the dry ingredients together well in a large bowl. Melt the butter and whisk together with the milk and eggs.

Combine into a dough and mix together until it just holds. You don’t want to knead this until smooth, you’re looking almost for a texture of soft biscuit dough.

Divide into equal size balls, press out into thin disks (this took a little practice, the first couple I made were too thick and didn’t cook through in the time that the surface browned). You want just enough oil in the pan to keep it from sticking, it shouldn’t be really bubbling away in oil. And, I found it works best over really low heat, otherwise the surface burns before the middle cooks.

When the bottom is browned, flip them over, then cook until that side is browned. Done! I found them to be really delicate and they almost fall apart if you try to pick them up. I’m not sure that’s the correct texture, but I followed the recipe to a “T”, and it seemed to jive with other recipes, so maybe that’s how these are supposed to be?

And, serve. I did, in the end, add in a splash more hot sauce for my own tastes, if I’d have had guests, I’d have just put the bottle out on the table and let people add it to their own tastes.

Next time, the mountain nation of Bhutan, in southern Asia!

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2018 Menu #8

2018.Feb.18 Sunday

February 13 – 2018 – 13 de Febrero Private dinner / Cena particulár   Prawn Causa – potato puree flavored with lemon, yellow chili, and olive oil; prawn salad with red onion, mint, basil, celery leaf, garlic mayonnaise; garnish of cherry tomatoes, black olives, green limo chilies, grated hard boiled egg, and guacamole pure. Causa […]

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A Beery Special Bite Marks (#56)

2018.Feb.13 Tuesday

? As the craft beer movement grows in Argentina, there are going to be missteps and weirdness involved. Like the burger craze that ramped up over the last few years, and the sushi everywhere one that preceded it, not everyone is on the same page. Here in Recoleta, where until not much over a year […]

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2018 Menu #7

2018.Feb.12 Monday
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February 7-9 – 2018 – 7-9 de Febrero   Sandperch / Citrus / Mango – sashimi slices of sandperch cured in a white miso and gochugaru vinaigrette; mango, shallots, lemon and lime supremes, mint, cilantro, rocotos. Salmón Blanco / Cítricos / Mango – tiras de salmón blanco curado en vinagreta de miso blanco y gochugaru; […]

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The Bread & Soup Project #20 – Benin

2018.Feb.11 Sunday
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It’s been awhile, but I have some solo time at home for a couple of weeks, so I’m going to do some delving into the different recipe projects here. I’m sure I’ll still do some eating out, but it’s a good chance to just play around in the kitchen without a lot of distractions. Next […]

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Classic Felix

2018.Feb.08 Thursday
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I’m a child of the 60s. You say, “Félix Clásico”, and my mind goes here… …but, here, among the self-proclaimed food cognoscenti, the mind is apparently to go here… …to Félix Clásico, José María Freire 794, in Piñiero, a suburb just south of the city. I’ve been hearing about this place for more than a decade. At some […]

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2018 Menu #6

2018.Feb.06 Tuesday
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February 1-3 – 2018 – 1-3 de Febrero   Grouper / Citrus / Rocoto – diced grouper cured in lemon and lime juices, ginger, garlic, celery, rocoto chili, salt, pepper, cilantro, red onion; toasted corn, limo chilies. Mero / Cítricos / Rocoto – dados de mero curado en jugos de limón y lima, jengibre, ajo, […]

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Bite Marks #55

2018.Feb.04 Sunday
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? You would think, given that it’s two blocks from home, that I’d have checked out what is, as far as I know, the only kosher restaurant here in Recoleta by now. But, somehow, I hadn’t. I mean, it’s right there, Luba, Ayacucho 1412, just off the corner of Peña, I can literally walk there in […]

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Peru Triptych

2018.Feb.03 Saturday
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?   Time for more Peruvians! Let’s start with a revisit… …to Larco-Mar, Pasaje Carlos Gardel 3131, to the side of the Abasto. Originally I’d given it a thumb’s down, on a visit where we’d only tried the daily menú ejecutivo and found it expensive and mediocre. With prompting from friends who love the place, we’d revisited […]

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